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Published on August 30th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Transparent Solar Cells, Solar Powering Bayern Munich… (Solar News Roundup)

August 30th, 2014 by  

Here’s some more solar energy news from around the interwebs:

transparent solar cells

Michigan State University researchers have made some progress on transparent solar cells, a technology we’ve been covering for years but is yet to make it out of the lab. Michigan State’s transparent solar cells aren’t going to be commercialized anytime soon, but maybe they will help lead to that one day. (Solar Love)

Yingli Solar, an official premium partner with Bayern Munich, has installed a solar power system at the top football (soccer) club’s training facility. (Solar Love)

Solar carports are likely to expand at a solid clip in the United States in the coming years. It could be a $843 million market by 2016. (Solar Love)

Solar power is a good way to massacre wholesale electricity prices. (Sustainnovate)

The Climate Reality Project has a new event coming on September 16, “24 Hours of Reality: 24 Reasons for Hope.” Me thinks it’s going to include some talk of solar power and other cool cleantech. (Planetsave)

5 gigawatts (5,000 megawatts) of distributed solar power capacity are now expected to be added in China in 2014. (Solar Love & Sustainnovate)

The largest company in the world (by one metric, at least) is going solar. The reason is obvious. (Sustainnovate)

The electric vehicle boom will spur on the solar boom. (SolarEnergy.net)

I think we’re all solar energy enthusiasts here, especially if we’re spending our weekend running down a list of solar news items. Here’s another list for you: 5 reasons solar will dominate the energy industry in the coming century. (Sustainnovate)

The world’s largest positive-energy building uses solar power, of course. (Sustainnovate) And so does this giant carbon-neutral building in the Netherlands. (Sustainnovate)

Stephen Lacey takes a deep dive into Solar Roadways and interviews federal government officials who have overseen funding for the test projects. (Greentech Media)

This physicist has brought clean water to countless people in the developing world. One of the key ingredients is simply UV light. (Sustainnovate)

Could these two Bangladeshi men be the first two men to bring clean energy microfinancing to the developing world? (Sustainnovate)

Solar energy can’t produce negawatts, but negawatts are even greener. So, what’s a negawatt? (Sustainnovate)

The world essentially has a $71 billion bonus waiting for it if it switches to clean energy by 2050, according to one report. (Sustainnovate)

Craig Morris discusses the assumptions used in a new 100% renewable-supplied electricity in Germany. (Renewables International)

The thing about “boom and bust” solar markets that is often overlooked by critics is that there actually was a boom… unlike in many other markets that just creep along. Furthermore, a bit of care in designing these policies can avoid the roller coaster ride. Lastly (these could be three articles), Craig Morris discusses why there haven’t been boom-and-bust cycles for biomass or wind power under feed-in tariffs but there has been a big boom-and-bust roller coaster for wind power in the US using different policies. (Renewables International)

This 100% solar and wind energy company is now operating on 4 continents. (Sustainnovate)

Eric Wesoff recently had a long chat with Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich. In case you aren’t aware, Sunrun is the #1 solar company in the US focused solely on the residential market, and it is the #2 residential solar installer or financier behind SolarCity. (Greentech Media)

Craig Morris tears apart a horrible article published in TIME about the Energiewende, and doesn’t understand one of the most important things about the Energiewende. (Energy Transition)

Renewable energy grew at its fastest pace ever, globally, in 2013. However, the IEA concludes that’s still not enough. (Climate Progress)

The IEA also notes that renewable energy now accounts for ~22% of global electricity production. (Sustainnovate)

The developing world is leapfrogging centralized energy and going straight to mobile clean energy. (Sustainnovate)

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • inductancereluctance

    Why lock yourself into an airtight, 20 year lease or PPA contract for thick, 1970’s style, aluminum framed solar panels that may have a negative impact on your home’s value in a few years, when you can own, next generation, Hyper X 2, higher performance, aesthetically pleasing, frameless, 1/4 inch thin, see through solar panels for less than 1/2 the cost of a solar lease?

    • Calamity_Jean

      Are these “next generation, Hyper X 2, higher performance, aesthetically pleasing, frameless, 1/4 inch thin, see through solar panels” available now? If not, when will they be available? And if someone plans to put the panels on a roof, why would “see through” be worth paying for?

      • Bob_Wallace

        ” And if someone plans to put the panels on a roof, why would “see through” be worth paying for?”

        Well, you could watch spiders catch bugs….

        • inductancereluctance

          The light passes through the clear glass and is reflected off of the roof’s or ground’s surface and strikes the backside of the bifacial (double sided) solar cells and produces more power than the nameplate STC rating of the solar module. So, for example, a 340 watt bifacial solar module with a 10% backside boost could produce a total of 374 watts. Mono facial (single sided) solar modules can’t do that.

          The catch is that systems with this new technology costs less than the average system pricing that’s available on the market today so it’s not a matter of them being worth paying for.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If I wanted to purchase one of these Hyper X panels what would it cost per watt?

          • inductancereluctance

            I’m sorry but I don’t think that I’m allowed to post that kind of information here.

          • Bob_Wallace

            How about you contact Zach and purchase some ad space?

            You’ve pretty much used up your free spam allowance.

          • inductancereluctance

            I might just do that. I like Zachary, I think he runs one of the, if not the best non biased, solar information/news sites on the planet.

          • inductancereluctance

            I found a link to “Sponsored Posts” but can’t find a link for advertising like the banner ads that run on the articles. Can you provide a link ?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Top of the page – About – drop down – Contact Us.

            That should give you a fill in form….

          • inductancereluctance

            I found it. Thank you. They really should make it a separate isolated link on the menu bar so it would be easier to find.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            “is reflected off of the roof’s or ground’s surface and strikes the backside of the bifacial (double sided) solar cells”
            No, most of that will be absorbed, unless you have a reflective surface… a mirrored surface would work best but that costs …and you have to keep it clean.
            10% efficiency to start with will not be competitive with 20% average silicon panels we’ll see in a few years. Even ThinFilm will need to be 17% or so, at even lower cost than Si, in a few years.
            Mono facial don’t need to do that.
            I don’t see the advantage either. Even if you use for windows, you are at cross-purposes, trading a clear view for solar power production. Improve one, only at detriment of other.
            Best of luck to you anyway. Please prove me wrong.

          • inductancereluctance

            That’s the whole idea. Most applications will use a lighter colored surface (mirrors are not necessary) in order to achieve the backside illumination.

            For example a 10% backside illumination boost would mean an increase from 340 watts to 374 watts. Even a lighter colored tile roof can increase the output of a bifacial module. Many ground mount bifacial module installations in Hawaii are using sea shells as a reflector to increase output.

            The standard STC front side only efficiency of these bifacial modules is 18%. A 20% backside illumination would take that to 21.5% which is extremely competitive.

            The proof is in this module’s 92.88% PTC to STC ratio which according to the California Energy Commission website’s posted data, outperforms over 100 of SunPower’s solar panel models. Another module that uses this same technology is Sanyo/Panasonic, but at a much higher price.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            “The standard STC front side only efficiency of these bifacial modules is 18%. A 20% backside illumination would take that to 21.5% which is extremely competitive.”
            Way more interesting! Thank you!
            I thought you were talking 10% efficient to start. 10% efficiencies are way too low now-a-days.

          • inductancereluctance

            Yes, I agree. 10% would hardly be worth mentioning.

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